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4 Tips for Exposing Underground Utilities | Tips From Liscenced Industry Proffessionals

Digging around underground utilities requires well trained, competent equipment operators, a spotter, and most importantly locates. Below are some helpful tips from liscenced drain layers and equipment operators to keep you safe and efficient while digging around utilities.


Safe Procedures Guide:

1) Call 'Ontario One Call' and allow 7 days for the locates to be completed.

Always remember that any buried utilities such as pool, barbecue, irrigation and lighting that are installed privately are not included. Natural Gas and Hydro locates finish at the meter.


2) Exposing existing utilities within the work area must be done with much caution and vacuum excavation is preferred where at all possible. This will reduce the risk of any damage occurring due to unexpected contact of excavation equipment and buried plant. If machine excavation is required, it must be done accompanied with hand digging. Any excavation work within 1 meter either side of a locater marking is considered to be within the legal locate and will require hand digging.


3) Whenever possible it is suggested to accompany the locator technician and obtain any depth readings on the utilities that may be within the work areas. Removing soil over buried plant should take place in layers until the utility is found by hand digging and verified with the locate completed. By removing soil in layers of 6" depths, both machine and hand digging can be utilized. First the laborer hand digs a shovel width trench at 6" depth over the legal locate area and ensures no plant is present. Next, the machine operator digs down cautiously to this depth over an area large enough for the laborer to step into and repeat the hand digging to another 6" shelf depth. This process is repeated until the plant is exposed safely and this process is repeated until all buried plant has been day lighted.


4) When using a mini or midi excavator to assist in exposing underground utilities, it can be very advantageous to have the operator door fully open and secured and to position the swing tower at 90 degrees. This method of operating is especially useful when in a confined space or where two trenches join together and operator sight lines into the trench are greatly reduced.

With these helpful tips, you can safely and efficiently dig around utilities and get the job done. As always, if you have any questions regarding equipment to be used in these sorts of projects, don't hesitate to reach out to our qualified team of staff ready to assist you with all your landscape/construction project needs!

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